Iranian and foreign investors who finance restoration projects receive a tax holiday for five to 13 years, based on the scale and location of the project, said the head of Iran’s Revitalization and Utilization Fund for Historical Places.
Mohammad Reza Pouyandeh added that investors can also apply for loans from the National Development Fund, which will be offered based on an agreement with Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization, according to Persian news agency ISNA.
The tax breaks and financial assistance, along with discounts in utility costs, are among the government’s incentives to entice the private sector to implement restoration projects.
Pouyandeh said investment in Iran’s historical places is safe, profitable and quick-yielding, thanks to foreign tourists’ inclination to take up accommodation in ancient buildings and the relatively high number of domestic travelers.
He stressed that not a single project has failed to deliver on its early-return promise.
According to the latest data, 13 million Iranian families took a trip in spring 2014, suggesting that investment in Iran’s tourism is worthwhile.
“Domestic travelers alone can ensure the profitability of these projects,” Pouyandeh said while addressing a meeting with the heads of Iran’s friendship associations last week.
The government’s empty coffers makes acquiring state funding to restore historical sites nigh on impossible, which is why the fund, known by its Persian acronym SAABTA, has made it a mission to cede historical buildings to private investors to be fixed up and function as lodging facilities.
This condition helps Iran increase its lodging capacity, which is far from optimum given the country’s ambition to quadruple its 5 million annual tourists by 2025.